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ISS observations offer insights into plant function

A Correction to this article was published on 05 September 2017

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In 2018 technologies on the International Space Station will provide 1 year of synchronous observations of ecosystem composition, structure and function. We discuss these instruments and how they can be used to constrain global models and improve our understanding of the current state of terrestrial ecosystems. Author Correction (05 September 2017)

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Figure 1: Spatial and temporal synergy of observations and their applications.
Figure 2: A conceptual framework for how different data, observed from each ISS instrument, can be integrated into terrestrial biosphere models to improve their ability to represent and predict ecosystem processes.

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  • 05 September 2017

    In the version of this Comment previously published, in Box 1, the spacing of the GEDI footprints should have read 60 m along the track, not 25 m. Also the second affiliation for Susan Ustin was incorrect, she is only associated with the University of California, Davis. These errors have now been corrected.


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Many of these ideas were born and developed at the workshop on Exploring New Multi-Instrument Approaches to Observing Terrestrial Ecosystems and the Carbon Cycle from Space that occurred 5–9 October 2015 and was funded by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS), organized by Michelle Judd, and hosted at the institute facility at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Additionally, the ideas in this article would not have been possible without the contributions of each participant. The majority of the work was internally funded and carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Also, S.S. was supported during the writing of this manuscript by the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) in the Tropics, which is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the Department of Energy, Office of Science, and through the United States Department of Energy (grant no. DE-SC0012704) to Brookhaven National Laboratory. R.D. is funded by NASA Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation Mission (grant no. NNL15AA03C). P.W. acknowledges support from the NASA Carbon Cycle Science programme (grant no. NNX14AI60G). J.F. is funded by the NASA ECOSTRESS project. A.S. was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the Dimensions of Biodiversity programme (DEB-1342872).

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Authors and Affiliations



E.N.S. is the lead writer for the manuscript, D.S. led discussions and helped articulate the key points of discussion for the manuscript, R.P. provided HISUI and OCO-3 information and panels in Fig. 2 as well as with edits for the manuscript, S.S. helped edit the general text, developed Fig. 2 and provided text for terrestrial biosphere models section, A.S. helped edit the general text and provided text for terrestrial biosphere models sections, L.D. provided the GEDI panel in Fig. 2 and text describing GEDI, J.B.F. helped with general editing and provided the ECOSTRESS panel in Fig. 2, F.F. helped with general editing, S.U. helped develop the original manuscript outline, R.D., A.S. and P.W. were key in contributing ideas for the manuscript.

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Correspondence to E. Natasha Stavros.

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Stavros, E., Schimel, D., Pavlick, R. et al. ISS observations offer insights into plant function. Nat Ecol Evol 1, 0194 (2017).

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